After spending hours working on a Bible lesson to share with my web friends, my work was lost. It was gone because the HTML editing language can get messed up during the editing process and then it refuses to save a corrupted document and I don’t know how to fix HTML problems. Anyway, I was disappointed about the lost post. However, all my time was not wasted because I am left with some of my notes in another file and the impact the study and preparation time had on me personally. And that’s good. I’m always challenged and encouraged by spending time in God’s Word, as I trust you are.
And, my refusal to quit writing because of such disappointments got me to thinking about how much I love words. I love to read words and I love to write words. I love to speak words and I love to hear words. And, it occurred to me that behind all of this love of words is The Word, Himself, Jesus Christ, The God Man who ‘spoke’ everything into existence. All of creation manifested as a result of spoken words! Pause and think about that. (As I’ve read elsewhere, “I’ll wait.” :-) They were words spoken by The Most High, of course, but they were words. So, words are indeed foundational to our existence. And, I would add, to our present survival, as well as, to our future state of happiness.
And yet, as important as they are, we don’t always recognize their value or their power. In fact, we often treat words with contempt. We avoid words, abuse words, corrupt words, parry words, parse words, twist words, sling words, waste words, etcetera. We may speak when silence would be more effective and we may remain silent when only appropriate words could bring resolve. We may use words to conceal our true selves and our actions rather than to reveal what ought to be shared. We may use words to dominate rather than to uplift, to slander rather than to defend, to hurt rather than to heal. And, if we do misuse words, as it says in Proverbs, it will be to our loss.
Just think about the Tower of Babel for a minute. They misused words! They called good, evil, and called evil, good. They thought preserving their unity as one people was more important than obedience to God’s command. Everyone spoke the same language. They even shared the same dialect, used the same phrases and told the same stories. They were one people and had never been separated by any barrier that would cause them to differentiate by culture, class or color. And so, they understood each other and worked well together. And, that seemed good to them and sounds good to many today who favor a New World Order. However, their connections and similarities made them easily dominated by an ungodly leader and their great cooperation operated in opposition to God.
He had told them to separate into groups and fill the earth for their own good. God knows localised government is better in a sinful world, and He wanted to protect the common people from totalitarianism. So, when He came down to check out their defiant project and looked ahead in time to the results that would follow, out of mercy and grace, He chose to intervene on their behalf. And God’s solution was to change their languages so they could no longer understand one another. The confusion forced them to separate and fill the earth as previously commanded. And that separation has slowed totalitarianism’s progress and preserved the world for thousands of years now saving many lives. (See how God’s commandments are good and promote life. Don’t you just love God’s Word?) Yes, separation and lack of understanding sometimes saves life. If words will be misused, it’s better not to use them at all. Go figure! Or Selah, if you like!
Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Proverbs 18:21 KJV
This proverb is to be taken literally now and in the hereafter. For example, a false witness may lead a judge or a jury to condemn an innocent person to death. Or a liar may stir up a mob to take justice into their own hands. It could be you in the jury box or among the mob or in the dock. If not in this life, you will certainly be in the dock later, as will we all, according to our next scripture.
“But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matt 12:36-37
This may not be the cheeriest subject, but it’s timely. We live, as Isaiah did, “among a people of unclean lips.” If he did, you know we do today. Besides personal interactions we can’t control, the electronic media fills the airwaves with the product of unclean lips, making profanity and all other forms of ungodly speech very difficult to avoid. I am particularly distressed by the disrespectful use of references to God in our world today– especially among Christians. The prophet, himself, admitted that he was “a man of unclean lips” before the angel cleansed his lips with a burning coal from the altar. So, it’s obvious that the sin nature and society both play a role in polluting our hearts. However, we have a precious promise to cling to in faith and obedience that will preserve us even in the midst of a perverse generation. It says, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 KJV) Notice the solution involves words. We must confess our sins to be cleansed. And then, God promises to purify us from everything that’s not right about us. Praise God!
We can’t live without words– especially The Word! And, as I said before, I love words! So, it’s simply imperative that we use words righteously as Paul says in Ephesians. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. (4:29)
I hope this word has and will encourage you to become more consciously aware of the quality of thoughts allowed in your mind and the impact of the words allowed to flow from your lips, or even from your pen. May all your words minister life to you and to those who receive them!